SEELAND AND THE LAKE OF BIENNE
Bounded by the Cantons of Bern, Fribourg, Neuchâtel & Vaud, Seeland is recognized as one of the most important vegetable growing regions of Switzerland. A quarter of Switzerland’s yield comes from the area. The City of Aarberg, known for its sugar factory, is considered by many as the “Pearl of Seeland”. There are a number of very quaint villages nestled in the winegrowing region around the Lake of Bienne. The village of Erlach (Cerlier in French) with its small castle is one of these. It provides a great view over the lake. From there visit the small St. Peter’s Island described by Jean-Jacques Rousseau “…of all places I have lived (and I have lived in some charming ones), none has made me so truly happy nor left me such tender regrets as St. Peter’s Island in the middle of Lake Biel.” Today it is a nature preserve and hosts a small hotel with a nice restaurant – an ideal get-away place. If you’re heading to Bienne (Biel in German) from Erlach, cross the Thielle Canal which connects the Lake of Bienne & the Lake of Neuchâtel and stop off for a stroll around the medieval city of La Neuveville.
The art of glass blowing has always fascinated me, and I have enjoyed visiting the Philabaum Glass Gallery in Tucson. If you share my interest and have ever wanted to give glass blowing a try, you will need to visit the Zünd Glass Factory in Lamboing on your way to Bienne. Not only will you see great glass art, you can enjoy a super meal in their restaurant. Bienne, located on the eastern end of the lake, is Switzerland’s largest bilingual city and the cradle of the Swiss watch-making industry. Rolex & Swatch are just a couple of the world-renowned companies headquartered there. As a “watch-lover” you could enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the CIMIER Watch Academy in Bienne. Imagine being a watchmaker for a day. Yes, master watchmakers will guide you as you create & assemble your own personalized mechanical watch. They will share the secrets of their profession in the art of traditional watchmaking.
We will visit the 3-Lakes Region again in a future “Spotlight”, but for now we’ll end the visit by taking a leisurely river boat trip on the Aare toward Solothurn. You might consider stopping off at the historic town of Büren an der Aare. The town is home to Hagen-Glas, a famous glass-blowing workshop, where you can see the artists at work, purchase some beautiful glass art, and for groups of 25 you can arrange a fondue dinner in their vaulted cellar.
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